Complete Guide on Facebook Canvas Ads for Ecommerce

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In February 2016, Facebook formally introduced Facebook Canvas ads – a full-screen ad experience that brings brands and businesses to life on mobile devices.

We all know that mobile advertising can help you win better conversions as most of your potential customers are browsing and shopping on their devices. With this Facebook ad offering, you can make your mobile communications more engaging and more visually-exciting by exposing them to a mobile ad experience where they can click, tilt, rotate and scroll through your videos, photos, product feeds, carousels and other engaging forms of content.

Canvas advertising can help you make your brand bigger, enjoyable, and more full of life on Facebook, and in this article, we will discuss what Facebook Canvas Ads is in greater detail, how to set up one for your business, its benefits as well as the challenges that you may encounter along the way.

Quick Overview of Facebook Canvas Ads

While Facebook Dynamic Product Ads have long provided brands with powerful and creative ways to advertise their products, there was apparently a disconnect after a person clicks on an ad. Either they are transported to a landing page that loads so slowly or is not optimized for mobile devices.

Instead of exploring the brand further, people were opting out and abandoning landing pages before they get more frustrated. Facebook Canvas Ads was created as a response to these issues, replacing ordinary landing pages into fast and immersive mobile brand experiences.

With Canvas advertising, marketers will now be able to share their landing page information quickly and more mobile-friendly after people have clicked on their ads, inspiring actions that will hopefully lead to better conversions.

Facebook uses the same technology that makes photos and videos load quickly, making loading time 10 times faster than on a standard mobile site. It also uses the same technology for Instant Articles, but since Canvas advertising is used for selling products, one can expect a truly compelling and visual brand experience than the standard header-and-text-news article.

With Canvas Ads, you can have rich and immersive multimedia stories to share about your brand and your audience can enjoy them by swiping through your carousel of images, tilting panoramic images, and zooming in on product details to learn more about what you offer.

From the standpoint of pricing and auction mechanics, Facebook Canvas Ads is no different from other Facebook ads. It supports the same objectives and more importantly, brands will not pay more than they already do to create a Canvas Ad.

How to Set Up Facebook Canvas Ads

Start telling bigger, more beautiful, and more engaging brand stories with the Canvas Builder tool. Start creating your own on Power Editor or you can sign up here to request access to the tool.

One of the reasons why Canvas ads are worth having and creating for your business is it is easily customizable. There is no one way to create a Canvas ad, but nevertheless, easy to set up especially if you have your creative assets ready ahead of time.

To create a Canvas in Power Editor:

  1. Login in to your Power Editor account
  2. Under ‘Create Ad’, choose ‘Ad with an image or video’
  3. Under ‘Destination’, choose ‘Canvas’
  4. Click on the + sign to open the builder tool
  5. Edit the ‘New Document’ field to give your Canvas a name
  6. Click on the > sign next to choose the theme and background you want for your Canvas

To create a Canvas straight from your Facebook page, unlock the Canvas Builder tool by creating your first Canvas on Power Editor.

  1. Go to your Facebook page and then click on ‘Publishing Tools’
  2. Click on ‘Canvas’ and then select ‘Create’
  3. Click on the ‘New Document’ field to give your Canvas a name
  4. Click on the > sign next to choose the theme and background you want for your Canvas

On the left hand side of the Builder tool, you can see the different components you can add to your Canvas. These components are the following:

  • Header
  • Photo
  • Button
  • Carousel
  • Text Block
  • Video
  • Product Set

You can add more than one component to your Canvas. You can even add multiples of each component if you want by clicking on the ‘Add Component’ button as many times as needed. These components can also be added in any order and not all are required to be on your Canvas.

A header is an image that appears and remains fixed on top of your Canvas. Unlike the other components, you can only have one header and it can only be placed at the top.

Facebook Canvas Ads header

A photo is an image you can add to your Canvas.

You can have as many as 20 photos in your Canvas. You can choose how you want these photos to be displayed and how you want your customers to interact with it. You can choose from these three display options:

Facebook Canvas Ads photo

  • Default – It fits the image to the width of the screen of your customer’s mobile device.
  • Tap to expand – It fits to the width of your customer’s mobile device’s screen size, but it allows your customers to tap on it and view its original size and shape. Your customers can tilt their device to see the entire image or they can also pinch on it to zoom in on the image.
  • Tilt to pan – It fits the image to the height of your customer’s screen. They can tilt their device to view the image in its entirety.

A button takes your customers from your Canvas to the site you will enter in the ‘Button Link’ field. Ultimately, you would be putting the link to your ecommerce store in this case. You only have a maximum of 30 characters for the name or CTA of the button.

Facebook Canvas Ads button

A carousel is a series of images and links that your customers can swipe through as they go through your Canvas. Although similar in nature when creating a carousel ad, a carousel in a Canvas is only a series of images, no default texts, and it does not have to be square. You can use up to 10 images per carousel. Make sure to have these images in JPG or PNG formats.

Facebook Canvas Ads carousel

A text block is a blank space where you can add text for your Canvas. Having text blocks is a great way to break up your Canvas with your pertinent business information. You can customize your text blocks with the font, size, color, styling, and alignment that you want. One text block has a limit of 500 characters.

A video allows you to showcase your brand and your products interactively. It should not be longer than two minutes and it must have a minimum resolution of 720p. Facebook recommends videos to have a portrait orientation. Otherwise, landscape videos will be automatically resized. Also, the thumbnail image of your video will be the first frame of your video. Although your video will autoplay once your customers scroll to it, try to have a good first frame for your video to make a good impression.

Facebook Canvas Ads video

And lastly a product set is a collection of products from your catalogue that dynamically displays products that can give you the highest revenue. If you already have a product feed for your Facebook Dynamic Product Ads, you can display and use the same feed for your Canvas. Facebook will dynamically show 40 of your products at a time in no particular order.

Facebook Canvas Ads product set

If components are on the left hand side of your builder tool page, on the right is the preview of your Canvas. Keep checking how your Canvas looks like to see if you are satisfied with the different components you added or not.

Use the up and down arrows to change the order of your components and click on the trash can symbol to remove components you want to take out.

Aside from previewing your work, make it a habit to click on ‘Save Draft’ during your Canvas creation process so you don’t lose any work. And finally, click on ‘Finish’ once you are done.

With your Canvas already created, you are now ready to integrate it with an ad. You can do it through Power Editor or via the Ads Manager.

If you want to do it on Power Editor:

  1. Go to your account and create a new campaign
  2. Choose your objective
  3. At the ad level, choose the Facebook page that is connected with the Canvas you created and then select ‘Ad with an image or video’ in the ‘Create Ad’ section
  4. From the ‘Canvas’ field dropdown, select the Canvas you created
  5. Click on ‘Finish’

If you want to do it on Ads Manager:

  1. Go to your Facebook page the Canvas was created for
  2. Click on ‘Publishing Tools’ and then click on ‘Canvas’
  3. Select the Canvas you created and then copy its URL
  4. Create a new campaign with your intended campaign objective
  5. Enter your Canvas’ URL in the ‘Enter URL to promote’ field
  6. Click on ‘Finish’

Below are some examples of appealing Facebook Canvas Ads for these ecommerce brands – Target, Macy’s and L’Occitane.

brands using Facebook Canvas Ads

Target turned to Canvas advertising to market their holiday offering, called Wonderpacks.

ecommerce brands using Facebook Canvas Ads

Macy’s also used Canvas ads for advertising its back-to-school line for kids. Viewers can swipe the different looks that can be shopped from the girls’ and boys’ catalogues.

businesses using Facebook Canvas Ads

For L’Occitane, viewers can swipe to the left and to the right to get information on their ingredients, origins, and products. Viewers are also introduced to L’Occitane’s different product categories, such as its Shea Butter category and gift set category, through videos and images.

Benefits for Ecommerce Stores

If you want to engage with your target customers more with Facebook ads, making a Canvas to go with it can give you so many amazing benefits.

With Canvas advertising, you can be sure that the landing pages of your ads are loading fast – 10 times faster to be exact than the normal external landing page can ever do. This pairs extremely well with the idea of instant gratification expected from online and mobile advertising. It’s so fast to get in on a Canvas ad and get instantly transported to an immersive mobile ad experience.

Similarly, if your viewers want to get out just in case they accidentally clicked on your ad, they can get out as fast as they can get in by simply clicking on the little arrow in the upper left corner of the Canvas. This is a good reminder that they can simply swipe to the left to leave the ad. This quick escape means just as you want to immerse your audience with your ad, you are also minimizing your intrusion into their devices.

If your site’s responsiveness is still one of your main issues, you can rest in the fact knowing that your ads’ landing pages are 100% optimized for mobile devices whether that is a smartphone or a tablet computer. Your viewers can swipe, rotate, or tilt your ads and you don’t have to worry if your ads will deliver or not.

With the different components that you can put together on a Canvas, you are offering not only informative ads, but ads that are truly interactive and immersive. Facebook Canvas Ads are also beautiful to look at and it manages to keep its beauty from the moment your viewers click on your ad until the very last frame of the Canvas you created.

More importantly, with Canvas ads, you can focus on the same marketing objectives but with an even better and stronger brand presence. Similar to Dynamic Product Ads, your Canvas ads can increase clicks to your ecommerce site, pull your website conversions up, and widen your reach. Canvas ads also do not cost more than the other Facebook ads you are already utilizing, helping you stay within your ad budget but with a promise of a better ROI.


Facebook Canvas Ads was built to bring life into your brand in a fast-loading and smooth experience on Android and iOS devices. Landing pages will no longer take its time to load and brands won’t have to worry if they have perfected their site’s responsiveness or not. With Canvas advertising, you can serve your target customers with communications that is relevant, loads fast, well-executed, and designed for their small screens.

While it proves to be a promising platform for mobile advertising and no one can doubt its appeal for both brands and consumers, what will make Facebook Canvas Ads truly successful is if brands will continue to invest in content that people will actually click on, explore, and look forward to consume. It’s a constant challenge that applies not only for Canvas Ads, but in all other ads that you will create to engage with your customers.

Like in a theater, let Facebook take care of the technical aspects of your ads, but make sure that you are giving your viewers a good show to watch each and every time.

About the Author

John Komarek is the founder of Pixelter. He helped over 63 e-commerce businesses boost their mobile sales by up to 183.5%. He uses advanced UX research, A/B testing, and AI-driven personalization to deliver the results. Learn more about how he can help you grow your sales.

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